8 July 2013
Source: Greenpeace International
A new report from Greenpeace International has found that the potential impact of deep sea mining is not properly understood. Mining could devastate biodiversity hotspots and endanger deep sea organisms as sediment waste and pollution from toxic heavy metals are discharged. This comes as only 3% of the world's oceans and less than 1% of the high seas are protected, making them among the most environmentally vulnerable places on Earth.
"Deep seabed mining could have serious impacts on the ocean environment and the future livelihoods and wellbeing of coastal communities," said Alicia Craw, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. "We cannot in good conscience stand by and allow that to happen."
Copper, manganese, cobalt and rare earth metals are found in or on the seabed and a growing number of governments and companies are developing deep seabed mining ventures for mineral exploration. Canada, Japan, South Korea, China and the UK are just some of the countries that have been granted contracts by the International Seabed Authority, which is holding its 19th session in Jamaica from July 15-26 where more applications will be considered.
"We're on the verge of a dangerous new kind of gold rush in our oceans, which are already suffering from overfishing, climate change and pollution. Governments must fast-track the establishment of a global network of marine reserves that will act as crucial sanctuaries at sea for marine life and protect the ecosystems that we all rely on for our survival," said Craw.
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